Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 7, the forthcoming successor to Windows Vista, will be officially named... Windows 7.
The humble-sounding moniker sounds about right, and we assumed the name related to the fact that the operating system will be seventh technical release of Windows.
Today, Microsoft's Mike Nash has attempted to explain "Why 7?" on the official Windows Vista blog, and has managed only to add confusion to an otherwise well-received name.
According to Nash, the choice to use the number 7 arrived in simple fashion. Microsoft took a look at Windows releases of the past, and decided that Windows 7 is the "next logical significant release and 7th in the family of Windows releases".
That all makes sense to us, and our brief table below shows that Windows 95 was essentially Windows 4, Windows 98 was Windows 4.1, Windows 2000 was Windows 5.0, Windows XP was Windows 5.1 and the current Windows Vista could just as easily be known as Windows 6, right?
|Product name||Version / Build||Release date|
|Windows 1.01||1.01||November 1985|
|Windows 2.03||2.03||November 1987|
|Windows 2.11||2.11||March 1989|
|Windows 3.0||3.0||May 1990|
|Windows 3.1||3.1||March 1992|
|Windows 95||4.0.950||August 1995|
|Windows 98||4.10.1998||June 1998|
|Windows 2000||NT 5.0.2195||February 2000|
|Windows XP||NT 5.1.2600||October 2001|
|Windows Vista||NT 6.0.6001||January 2007|
|Windows 7||NT 6.1.x||Late 2009 / Early 2010|
The problem, it seems, lies with Windows 7's code as Nash has today confirmed that the retail version will ship with code listed as version 6.1.x - it won't, as many presumed, make the jump to 7.0.
To explain the matter, Nash adds:
There's been some fodder about whether using 6.1 in the code is an indicator of the relevance of Windows 7. It is not. Windows 7 is a significant and evolutionary advancement of the client operating system. It is in every way a major effort in design, engineering and innovation.
Trouble is, if the underlying code or build number is shown as 6.1, the Windows 7 name loses all technical relevance. Nash states that the decision to keep code at 6.1 will help developers with version checking for API compatibility - that may be the case, but it now begs the question; is Windows 7 really the right name?